Epic Poem - June 2013

Pre-Trip (0 Miles)
One week to go before the trip begins to end
48 states together by car hasn't put us around the bend
Though we've 7 states to go this time to complete the whole contiguous
The journey has been amazing, nothing close to ambiguous
So contemplating our route, and what we need to pack in the bags and car
Got the GPS and maps or we wouldn't get that far
Hard to believe in such a short time the adventure will be just a memory
But we'll create a new goal, believe it or not, we'll have a new vacation trajectory
Today, however, and the days leading up will be focused on just this trip
And enjoy every moment as best we can, every site, every sound, every dip!

Friday (285 miles - Start EST, End EST)
At 1:30 pm we were packed and on the road,
the festival started at 4 and we were ready to go
Abbott and Costello in the player as a lighted hearted start
But between every show was a Camel Cigarette advert
Not uncommon, I guess, for an old time radio show recording
But really funny to hear, but odd in this day to hear 'doctors recommending'
One cd of them, to break up longer books,
soon we were onto "Wintersmith" a Terry Pratchett discworld look
The Wee Free Men were back from our last trip,
But they spoke more clearly this time, so we could get a grip
The drive was uneventul and soon we were in Avon
Gael met us at the parking and the adventure'd really begun
A few months back when looking for something new
I'd found the Duck Tape Festival and it stuck our interest better than glue
We were among the first arrivals so we each got a gifted full roll
Each filled out a survey so ours was one small and colorful
They had a tent selling duck tape, brightly colored and with patterns wild and bold
And a tent for crafting with rolls available as long as we used the tape to make something there, free not sold.
there were booths of crafts and lots of food and carnival rides and games too
Much bigger event than expected, a good sized whoop de doo.
There were incredible statues and outfits people made,
Onsite voting on the top 10 prom outfits created from the tape.
But eventually, even us, have seen and done all we wished and all we could
So we headed out to Five Guys for a dinner before heading on our trip for good
Two more hours on the road, to give us a good distance for a first day of vacay
We have a lot of miles, a lot of hours in just two few days
After a few tries found a Best Western with an open room
moved in for the night and got ourselves comfortable, resting with a zoom
Goodnight for the first night of the final leg of the 48
The mornings will be early, the nights may be quite late

Saturday (649 miles - Start EST, End CST)
A sluggish start for a long driving day
But we finally got moving and out on our way
We fixed an 'injustice' from our last driving trip
And a good Kentucky sign family picture is now in our grip
While in Kentucky, we managed to right another wrong
We had KFC in Kentucky, an amusement for our throng
We had to pass through Tennessee again, but we have no complaint
We got to revisit Jeni's ice cream that's a treat that's heaven sent
Our wonderful server David took a family pic of us there
So we returned the favor, and his picture we might share.
And to follow a prior precedence, breaking a poem to share our flavors,
because when something's this good you have to share, just remember we enjoyed and savor'd

Evan had Cherry Lambic,Brambleberry Crisp, and Lemon and Blueberry
Riley had Cherry Lambic, and two scoops of the finest vanilla
Mark had Dark Chocolate and Salty Caramel with Donut Gravel
Marci had Black Coffee, Cherry Lambic, and Salty Caramel.

We saw a Saturn IB launch vehicle at an Alabama rest stop
That puts this particular bathroom break right up near the top
Drove a few more hours and stopped at Jack's for a burger dinner
Must be a local fast chain store but we all agreed that it was a winner
Next CD is "The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination" a bunch of short stories
Yes, it's giving us ideas. and yes, you all should worry.
Eventually stopped in Tuscaloosa for the night to get some sleep
Found we had switched time zones in time for bed
Long day, enough said.

Sunday (290 miles - Start CST, End CST)
Beautiful morning in Tuscaloosa (love the sound of that name)
With a little luck their internet will be up before we leave again
In the last 10 years or so it used to be you hoped to have free internet at a hotel and now it is expected
When the internet is down it is crazy and makes you feel dejected.

Evan's turn at poetry!

Breakfast was simple, waffle bagel toast all cool
as determined from yesterday, at least some of us would go to the pool
But the current writer decided today he didn't want to swim
And the weather stated his family shouldn't either,began raining on a whim
while mom got out to shower, going with Evan back to the room
Riley and Dad swam a bit longer, it was a drizzle not a typhoon!
Slowly getting dressed after showers, mom, ev, & riley each chose a shirt of red
it wasn't intentional in any way, it is really the truth that I said
Dad didn't want to feel left out, so he chose a red shirt to also wear today
So he found a red shirt that he'd packed and joined the Star Trek reference part-ay
Got packed and on the road, took a pic with the Mississippi state sign
Finally ended at McDonalds for lunch and FINALLY connected to WIFI!
Still driving and the Louisiana state sign meant we were much closer to our destination
A nice lady at the visitor center gave us good advice with no hesitation
The bridge over Lake Pontchartrain was kinda oversized
but it had to fit stuff underneath, is what we surmised.
Back to our regularly scheduled poet!

Arrived at Hotel St. Marie, in the French Quarter by Bourbon Street were we
An amazing suite we ended up in with a quite large balcony
Walked Bourban St., saw the sites, smelled the smells, heard the sounds
The smells weren't too good, but the sites and sounds, wowy zounds!
Stopped by LaFitte's Blacksmith Shop as every traveler does
Walked to the Mississippi River, sat on the rocks, yup, staring at the riverboats, we was.
We window shopped, and inside store shopped and let Riley tried on hats
Finally stopped for dinner, Po'boy and Jumbalays was had
More walking and site seeing we did for a while
The sites were incredible and made us all smile
Back at hotel to unwind a bit, give the guys a break for the night
Marci and Mark went back out, to hear the music and see the evening sights
It's a Sunday night, and it's bar night here, people wandering around drink in hand
Not a thing I can imagine I would see anywhere else, like a adult-themed Disney Land
The first bar we hit, drawn in by Otis Reading, if you'd have heard it you knew we would
The band there was doing a great rendition of "Knock on Wood"
It was the first but not the last I told Mark I was leaving him for them
He's used to it by now, the music always has me by the hem
He smiles, nods, and says 'of course' but never pays it any mind
Because as we pass the next door together he knows I'll always say the same line
Listened for a while, then back on the streets we ventured
There was good music everywhere, and store that any where else would be censored
At some parts of Bourbon Street all we heard was too much battling noise
Then pass the right doorway and it all changed to great music, would have been hard to make a bad choice
We ended up at Voodoo Vibe to catch The Voodoo Zydeco band
Couldn't find a website or Youtube, so you'll just have to trust they were grand
They played a Zydeco classics and their own renditions of songs we already knew
We had a great time but tomorrow's a busy day, so we went back to the hotel too

Monday (Stayed local - Start CST, End CST)
Awoke in the morning to an early start on a non-driving vacation day for sure,
We were off to see the Cajun Encounters swamp tour
We were safe, Cap'n Nathan (also known as Cap'n Crash for obvious reasons) is also a fireman and an EMT
He had grown up in the area, with a lovely Yat accent, not Cajun at all, you can see
We saw alligators and watched as our guide tossed them marshmallows and fed hot dogs off a stick
Watched blue heron's, white egrets, different types of turtles, and wild feral pigs
came back to wander and find some lunch at The Old Coffeepot
which had been visited by Guy, an additional recommendation for the spot.
Jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo, and crawfish étouffee
Ev and Ri tried the food but found it not their cup of tea
They were thrilled to befriend the hot dog vendor on the street.
So for lunch they had a common US food to eat
Riley finally found the new hat he had been contemplating
A happy guy with a new hat, it was definitely worth the waiting.
After lunch came back for a swim. Met a lovely couple from Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Funny how when we travel we find people from home again and again
Back out to New Orleans, but got to a closing aquarium
And then found out the Riverwalk is under renovations.
We had Sno-balls (packed snowcones) that made us feel a little cooler, it was a tasty delight
and then a scenic walk back to the hotel before coming out in the evening for dinner and to see the bright lights.
Finally heard a little tuba, and we ran to look from our balcony to find the source
But a little was all we heard and then it disappeared and made us sad, of course
And then, 'lo through our window, i heard brass instruments strongly
dragged everyone out kicking and screaming, but i knew i didn't think wrongly
out on the street, just down right at Bourbon, i heard brass instruments loud
Riley's jaw dropped in excitement when he saw the sousaphone playing proud.
Over the time we've been here we've seen a lot of buskers on the street
As the boys choose who they want to tip has been an enjoying treat.
Watched for a while, with a big ol' smile, and then we eventually moved on
finally found some pizza slices for the guys to get their dinner on
located a place with milkshakes, of the kind just right for the guys
and then walked back through the street, ending back at Voodoo Vibe.
Now of course, Ev and Ri couldn't enter, but we could all stand and listen at the door
And they enjoyed what they heard, which was an awesome thing, because they'd never heard live Zydeco before.
Calling it a night for the guys, letting them back into the hotel room for the eve
Mark and Marci went back out to find dinner, and a hurricane too, if you please.
caught another brass band out playing, recorded it for Riley to enjoy
It's awesome to do something special for a tuba playing musical boy.
after watching and enjoying a few songs, we still hadn't had our dinner tonight
So we were happy when Nola Po-Boys came into our sight.
A fried shrimp gumbo covered po-boy, like nothing we had either ever seen
Or wore, might be a better way to say it, since it was delicious and nowhere near neat and clean

Tuesday (462 miles - Start CST, End CST)
Before we leave town, just a little bit of a history lesson
See, ya gotta learn somethin' even on summer vacation
As soon as we hit Louisiana, Riley saw a familiar symbol everywhere
The 'boy scout symbol', the Fleur-de-lis, has additional history here
Marci and Mark woke up early for a quick breakfast at Cafe Du Monde at last
The walk there was through a sleeping city, with stores and homes shuttered fast
We passed a movie set prepping, the Hot Tub Time Machine II
Guess we will have to see when it comes out now, maybe we do
Just an FYI for the travelers who may one day find themselves here
never sneeze cough or breathe when eating a beignet or you'll have a face full of powdered sugar, I fear
Headed out with the idea of eating a last taste of Louisiana cuisine at a local restaurant in Baton Rouge
But both the guidebook and the GPS seemed to think there was a freeway exit that didn't exist, confusion became huge
After driving in circles around the city we ended up at a Burger King
The guys were thrilled because it had a Freestyle Coke Machine
Now truth be told it was Ev who had the most fun with this thing
when he saw it his eyes lit up big and bright and his inner lightbulb went ding
We spent quite a bit of time there, the boys tasting all the flavors of pop
and when someone else came up, Marci yelled out to them STOP!
Back on the road with periodic heavy rain
but nothing lasted long so it wasn't a huge pain
Something you don't notice when are driving into New Orleans is all of the Hurricane Evacuation Route signs
But Cap'n Nathan told us we would have lots of notice for hurricanes so we would be just fine
Found the Arkansas State sign on an empty country highway
Cross the Texas State line on a very clear freeway
This trip we saw signs for a burger place we had never heard of before
So you know we had to have dinner at Whataburger, for sure.
We had to stop at Texarkana, a city as unique as its name
It is located in two states, what's cooler than that I cannot claim
When we got to the city office, that is split right down the line
There was a small crowd gathered, very odd, but who are we to argue with a setup so fine?
Turns out they are filming a movie there today The Town that Dreaded Sunset
The police officer doing security and guys working the set
Worked us in and even took the picture so we could all be in
Put another bit on the car, New Boston is where our evenings rest will begin
So we can take tomorrow's pics in daylight.
if you are keeping count, we are set at 45 states as of tonight.

Wednesday (464 miles - Start CST, End CST)
Woke up in Texas, drove to Idabel, Oklahoma for breakfast
It was a small town, a theme for most of the day that would last
But first, driving through Texas to the border we saw things, oh my
In the middle of a field with only a small shelter was a machine to buy bags of ice
There was a 6 car backup, ok that's just where we joined the line
The construction workers only let one side go the mile or so at a time
Eventually we got through and were back at normal speed
But it wouldn't be the last construction today we would be seeing
Road kill on every highway in every state it's true
But we had never before seen Armadillo road kill, have you?
Passed the border into Oklahoma, knowing we would spend most of the day driving this state
The scenery was beautiful but repetitive, with lots of hours viewing it our fate.
Evan noted that mom kept pointing out to everyone cows
So here's the link to some "surreal bovine choreography": "Cows and cows and cows".
Interesting sign we saw periodically as we continued driving through the OK scene
"Do not Drive into Smoke", not sure I really want to know what it means
A long day driving through Oklahoma and cruise control was only good for a while
The speed was variable, changing everytime we went through another small town for a mile
65 most of the time, 55 drawing near and leaving, 45 or 35 depending on unknown reasons
It was interesting to see how they did it, but it felt like the signs were just teasing
Got to Tulsa, the expressway was under construction, fortunately we had stopped at a town recently passed
We hate getting stuck in construction tie ups because you could never tell how long it would last
Then we entered Kansas for a bit, but it was really just a quick pass through
And we blinked and found ourselves in Missouri, and the adventure was almost over we knew.
Got a room for the night for chilling, while we knew our mission was done
It would still take a while to get home, 2 more risings of the sun
Since driving this far in one day would be a pushing we didn't want to attack
We have 2 not crazy days of driving, until we find our way back

Some states we did well, some states we barely touched
It's a lot of miles to cover and there was no way not to rush
We'll leisurely drive through Missouri, and back toward our home
With no promises that we won't later continue to roam
But we've two more days with driving so this epic poem is not completed yet
Stay tuned for more, we'll still have fun, there's no bet.

Thursday (386 miles - Start CST, End EST)
Breakfast at the hotel then head out to the road
A fun afternoon is planned, if the truth be told
We are headed to City Museum, a place we had been once before
But unless you've ever been there, an explanation wouldn't tell you what's in store
It's tunnels and tubes and climbing rails, huge and like nothing else we've ever been
We climb and we slide, and we get a little lost, and we enjoy the throng and the din
Knee pads and flashlights are not at all bad ideas
Especially if you are an adult, not small and without really good knees
We didn't stop to see the World's Largest Wind Chimes
Though I expect a lot of people think that is how we spend all our travel time
Ended the day just inside Indiana, found a hotel to stay for the night
Found a Steak and Shake for a burger and found more than we expected, allright!
A waitress, not ours, noticed Riley's Doctor Who shirt and stopped by the table to chat
Our waitress, it turned out was also a whovian, and neither had known that was that

Friday(400 miles - Start EST, End EST)
Just a driving day, no big plans except getting home today
First we stop in Indianapolis to find lunch and get back our way
Around the corner from the restaurant we find Rocket Fizz!
If you like unusual pop and candy, this is a place that you should know what it is!
Then back in the car, back on the road, stopping for bathrooms, gas, and ice cream
And when we arrived back home, our house was a wonderful sight to be seen

We have travelled this country contiguously
Dipped our toes from sea to shining sea
With that we've done and all that we've seen
The best part is the boys feel we are "credit to team"
We sit here in awe, back home again
Of the things that we've seen and the travel we've done
But Riley wants the final word on the vacation
So he shouts out hours after the others, MICHIGAN!

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"All poetry on these pages Copyright 2004-2013 by Marci Grossman"